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Clarion-Limestone Cross Country Coach Nicole Oakes Shares Summary On Junior High Lions’ Season (10/22/19)

(Photos by Diane Lutz) Above: C-L Jr. High Boys Cross Country Team at Northwestern PA Middle School District Championships held at Kane High School.  Jack Craig, Logan Lutz (7th place), Ty Rankin (11th place), Riley Rinker, and Colton Keihl (12th place).

(By Coach Nicole Oakes)

The Clarion-Limestone Lions Junior High Cross Country team continued to show their pride throughout the end of the season. This week the Young Lion boys took many top finisher spots at both the KSAC Championships held Thursday (October  17th) at the Clarion County Park and the Northwestern PA Middle School District Championships held at Kane High School on Saturday (October 19th).

Top five finishers at KSAC Championship Meet

Within the small team the Lions have a strong front pack consisting of seventh grader, Logan Lutz; and eighth graders, Colton Keihl and Ty Rankin.

At the KSAC meet, all three of the boys finished in the top five with Ty coming in second, Logan coming in tenths of a second behind in third and Colton coming in fifth.

Northwestern PA Middle School District Championships held at Kane High School on Saturday October 19, 2019 – top 20 finishers, out of 100 runners

This weekend at the Northwestern PA Middle School District Championship Invitational, the boys competed against 17 schools with a total of 100 runners. Again the Lions made a strong showing with Logan coming in seventh, and Ty and Colton coming in eleventh and twelfth.

The entire boys team has worked hard to push themselves and make large strides in their overall pace and mental stamina this season. Team success can be attributed to all of the runners with the team rounding out with eighth graders Jack Craig and Joshua Kessler as well as seventh grader Riley Rinker. 

C-L Jr. High Boys Cross Country Team at Northwestern PA Middle School District Championships held at Kane High School. Riley Rinker, Logan Lutz, Ty Rankin, Coach Erin Hepfl, Colton Keihl, Coach Nicole Oakes, and Jack Craig. CL Jr. High Boys Cross Country Team at Northwestern PA Middle School District Championships held at Kane High School. Riley Rinker, Logan Lutz, Ty Rankin, Coach Erin Hepfl, Colton Keihl, Coach Nicole Oakes, and Jack Craig.

 Undefeated in the regular season, the boys team finished third at the KSAC championships and fourth  at the Northwestern PA Middle School District Championships.  As a group, the boys have their sights on some large goals into their futures as part of the Lions Cross Country team.

The success of the younger runners can’t come without credit to the strong role models these boys have with the Girls and Boys C-L Varsity teams. Most days the teams practice together and throughout the season, the Junior High runners have been partnered with a Varsity mentor. Every two weeks their Varsity mentor changed to another runner. This has helped all of the athletes improve their performance and has brought them all together as one PRIDE.

C-L Jr. High Boys Cross Country placers at Northwestern PA Middle School District Championships held at Kane High School. Logan Lutz (7th place), Ty Rankin (11th place), and Colton Keihl (12th place).

On the Varsity Side, the Lions are led by eleventh grader, Braden Rankin who pulled out a fifth place finish at the KSAC Championship this week and has improved each and every meet this season. Rankin and the other eleventh grader on the C-L team, Brandon Smith lead the team in heart and determination, talking with each runner in the box before every run.  

The only girls wearing Blue and Gold this season are also both strong competitors with tenth graders Jessica McCracken who finished eighth at the KSAC meet and Morgan McNaughton who finished forty-ninth out of 210 runners at the Big Red Invitational early in the season.

At the end of the season, the Lions are impressed with the successes they have seen this year, which can most directly be tied to their teamwork, encouragement of each other and determination to constantly do better. It may be an individual sport but as a team they are making C-L PROUD!

(Thanks to Coach Nicole Oakes for this article and to Diane Lutz for the photos. Great Season, Lions!!!!)